What is a Echocardiogram?

Echocardiogram testingAn Echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart that uses standard two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and Doppler ultrasound to create images of the heart. This common test allows your doctor to see the complicated dance that is your heart in motion – ventricles squeezing and relaxing, and valves opening and closing in rhythm with your heartbeat. Your doctor can use these images to identify various abnormalities in the heart muscle and valves. During an echocardiogram the technologist will attach sticky patches (electrodes) to your body to check your heart rhythm and ultrasound technology to see how blood moves through your hearts chambers. Most echocardiograms take less than an hour, but the timing may vary depending on your condition.

Uses for a Echocardiogram

Your doctor may suggest an echocardiogram if he or she suspects problems with the valves or chambers of your heart or your heart’s ability to pump. Many aspects of a heart’s condition can be determined through the use of an echocardiogram: heart size, pumping strength, damage to the heart muscle, valve problems or structural abnormalities.

Stress echocardiograms are generally obtained when a physician wishes to confirm or rule out the presence of a coronary artery disease. A stress echo is also performed in patients who have diseases involving the heart muscle or valve, or if a patient is having shortness of breath and a cardiac cause is suspected.

A stress echocardiogram is made up of three parts: a resting echo study, stress test, and a repeat echo while the heart is still beating fast.


Before You Arrive

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After the Exam

Once your scan is complete, a Radiologist will examine the images. Your physician will receive the images and reports via PACS and fax. Contact your physician directly to discuss your results. Results are also available through the Patient Portal. Allow 3 to 5 business days.


Schedule an Appointment

We invite you to experience the UCI difference. With two locations to serve you, University Center Imaging has the specialized staff necessary to assist with all your imaging needs. Schedule your appointment today with a member of the UCI Scheduling Team.